The Middle East are the reigning Asian champions ….
The 2022 World Cup is the first time that Qatar’s national team participates in a World Cup, thanks to their status as a tournament. Although they do not have to qualify for the global show, it is extremely difficult to argue that they would not do so if they were not the host.
Because Qatar is the reigning Asian champions, defeating a host of continental giants such as Iraq, South Korea and Japan to win the 2019 Asian Cup. They also competed in the second phase of the Asian World Cup, as it also served as a header for the Asian Cup in 2023. Safe to say, the Maroons were impressive and won their qualifying group unbeaten.
They were also invited to continental tournaments such as the 2019 Copa America and the 2021 Gold Cup where they came up with good performances. Qatar held Paraguay and suffered minor defeats in the South American tournament to Colombia and Argentina. In the Gold Cup, Qatar would go all the way to the semi-finals, where they were unfortunately beaten by the USA at World No. 10.
Currently, the Maroons are also participating in the UEFA World Cup qualifiers and are in a group that includes Portugal, Serbia, Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg. Although their matches in the group are categorized as friendly matches, it will be a tough test for Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup, where they will largely deliver a competitive performance.
And one person who is not at all surprised by the rise in Qatar as a football country is former Everton and Australian star Tim Cahill. The 41-year-old, who has scored five World Cup goals in three issues for Australia, is currently in Qatar and working as a senior football official at the Aspire Academy.
The Aspire Academy, in Doha, is one of the biggest reasons why Qatar has become a continental giant. The academy, which boasts world – class facilities and top – level coaches, has contributed the bulk of Qatar’s current national team and is already forming the next generation. Cahill feels that a systematic approach and long-term planning has made academia the most important supply chain for the country’s national team.
“I’ve been traveling to Qatar since 2010. When I was in Everton, I came here during my off-season. And now I’m back here and working full time at the Aspire Academy. It’s all about studying growth and ripening the “Children here and the study of all the football players – the 230 players who are here. It’s (the academy) about being able to see the generational aspect of it. There is no national team,” said Cahill. Purpose.
Cahill further explained how Qatar formed the current national team, with nearly 20 of the 30 players in the periphery produced by the Aspire Academy. Since Qatar won the host rights, these players have been together at Aspire and have been created for the national team. Almoez Ali and Akram Afif are all products of Aspire.
“Currently there are 20 players out of the 30 who play in the national team (from Aspire) and they have been together for a long time. And then the younger players (current players at Aspire) among all these guys have seen the precedent and know what they can achieve.
“The national team of Qatar – they are a unit. It’s unique to see players grow together, to see the chemistry and the leadership. You know, there are no negotiations when it comes to setting up the national team “There is no turning back. And I see it. I look out the window and I see how the first team is training and also the young people are training. It’s all about attention to detail.”
And Cahill quickly acknowledged the Qatar Football Association’s (QFA) long-term vision for the success these players are currently enjoying. Qatar does not have a large talent pool to choose from their players. But they have overcome such difficult challenges, thanks to long-term planning and a systematic and scientific approach to football, the Australian adds.
‘I think if you have such strong leaders in a country with a vision and they see the vision, it’s the result. No matter what is said, you know, they have it, they have the (facilities), think about it after the numbers. What is the population of Australia – 24 million people. Right? Qatar has 2.8 million people, but the local population is perhaps 350,000 to 400,000.
‘So, if you’re starting an academy and if you only have a small group of players to choose from, you need to be specific. We need to know if they like to run left, or if they like to run right. becomes three centimeters long in three years. You basically have to go through all the training sessions, you have to work with the coaches, you really have to investigate the scientific aspect of it. And when I talk about numbers, you know, playing the World Cup is the progress of their success and their investment in football, ”Cahill explains.
Cahill also said that it is not just spending money and how the most important factor is to spend money in the right areas. Qatar did well and formed a competitive team. Cahill feels that Qatar is a benchmark for how other federations should improve their football teams in the future.
“And I feel it was deserved (Qatar is going to play in the World Cup). They performed in the Gold Cup and lost in the semifinals against the USA. But they participated in every game and they dominated most of the matches.
‘I think it’s a good measure for many federations around the world to look at Qatar and wait, yes, they have invested a lot of money, but how did they spend it. can I take (from Qatar) to be competitive at that level? “
Safe to say, the Maroons look set for a competitive performance during the 2022 World Cup. The progress to the knockout stages may be a bit far-fetched, but it will not be an easy prey for the established teams. And most depend on the vision and execution of QFA and the technical expertise and knowledge of the Aspire Academy.